In one of the more interesting hands I've received in quite some time, we look at how to get maximum value on a big pocket pair. We all know how to play Aces and Kings pre-flop, for the most part, and the decisions are rather easy. However, sometimes your choice can be a bit tricky when faced with a certain situation.
This particular hand has our hero being dealt AA in the small blind. The read on the opponents are that one is a loose passive fish and the other is a bit unknown. There is also a player who posted an extra blind, adding another bet to the pot. We can assume that this player, who we’ll call Newbie, is bad, since most players who have some knowledge of poker will never post the big blind just to join the table. We could be wrong but in my experience this is often the case.
So, here we are with the best starting hand in poker and we are faced with an almost dream situation. We have a weak fish who limps under the gun, a presumably weak player adding an extra bet to the pot and a raise from the button.
PokerTracker Hand Shots
We are going to call the bigger stack Villian1 and the shorter stack (also the button) Villian2 to simplify the situation.
We have a couple options at this point once we face a raise. If we just flat, we risk playing Aces against possibly 4 opponents. If Villian1 was not such a loose player we could call, since the odds are lower that we will go 3 or 4 handed to the flop. Or, since Villian1 is loose, we can make a raise and still expect a call, building a larger pot and possibly winning more money. We will most likely get Newbie to fold and the original raiser, Villian2 (the button), may even come over the top and we can just get the money in with the best of it.
We do raise to $1.30 and as expected Villian1 flats. Villian2 comes back over the top and shoves all in. If we call we only have about $3 left and will have to go with any hand regardless of the flop. Typically, calling should be out of the question, as most opponents will realize that we have a huge hand and are never going to fold, and they’ll give up. Having said that, in this case we do have a fish who is calling almost every hand, so why not call him and hope to get a call. This is a play that should normally not be made, but in cases where we have a calling station it is ok to attempt this.
This is exactly what our hero does and we almost triple up through two weaker players. This hand may not look that tricky, but there are a few decisions that have to be made, and they decide if we win a small or large pot. The key is to know who your opponents are, and base your play on what you feel is the best based on your reads. In this case, we don't want to allow a bunch of players in the pot because Aces just don't play well against many opponents. We also don't want to go nuts and blow everyone else off their hands and win a small pot. We need to find that fine line where we get maximum value.